The Great (well, weeklong) Southwest Road Trip

DSCN4796Wanting to travel somewhere unquestionably different from anywhere we had been, a friend and I decided to spend our spring break exploring the Great American Southwest. In 7 days and 1,598 miles we traveled to 4 states, 3 national parks, and 4 national monuments. It wasn’t nearly enough time.

In our trusty Escape Campervan we wound through the twists and turns of Zion National Park, camped on the shores of Lake Powell and chased the horizon on long desert highways. We raced hailstorms down switchbacks, lost ourselves in unmarked slot canyons and woke hours before sunrise to see flowers blooming in Death Valley.

Our trip began in Vegas when we piled into our van and drove straight towards Zion, arriving just before nightfall. After a rainy day of hiking and an (almost) snowy night we drove out of Zion Valley and headed towards Bryce and then Escalante National Monument, wild camping for the first time. In Escalante, our van powered through a day of off road hiking, and then carried us late into the night towards Kanab. Though our attempt at the Wave lottery failed, we made up for it with the spontaneous decision to head east to see both Navajo and Monument Valley National Monuments.

Our next morning we rewarded ourselves with a few extra hours of sleep, interrupted briefly at dawn by the yipping of coyotes. Then we launched right back into it, completing the photo tour at Lower Antelope Canyon and snapping a few quick pictures at Horseshoe Bend before heading back up to Zion for the evening. We clambered up Angel’s Landing the next morning, made some friends at the top, and then said goodbye to the most bea(utah)ful of states as we drove back into Vegas. At 3 AM the next morning we left for our final foray into the desert, making it to Death Valley just after sunrise.

In short, the trip was mesmerizing, intoxicating, exhausting and utterly magnificent. I fell instantly and irrevocably in love with the desert. I can’t wait to go back.

Stay tuned for more details of my desert adventuring!

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